ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) – Liberty Christian High School is the first to sign up for an app created to catch bullies.
“We just think it’s the best anti-bullying tool out there,” Superintendent Lynn Staley said.
The application is the brain child of local teenager. It took Pendleton High School student Brandon Boynton, 17, nine months to create The BullyBox. Now, he’s finally seeing his hard work put to good use.
“When it finally gained recognition, when it finally started to be used in schools, that was incredible,” Boynton said. “Next week I’ll be seeing the initial results in schools.”
The key is, it’s a way for students to easily report bullying anonymously. It doesn’t matter whether they’re the victim or the witness.
Liberty High senior Curtis Dayton experienced his fair share of bullying. He says The BullyBox could be the answer.
“It kind of takes the pressure off of having to go up in front of an authority and kind of being the snitch. That’s kind of the biggest thing kids don’t want to deal with,” Dayton said.
Boynton designed The BullyBox during a stint at Madison County’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). 2013 was the first year for the program. Boyton hit it out of the park.
“I struggled with being bullied in the eighth grade and since then I’ve had a real passion for anti-bullying. I want to try to make a difference,” Boynton said.
Liberty teacher Sarah Branson says she overhears bullying in the hallways and sees vicious cyber bullying primarily on Twitter. The BullyBox has her glowing.
“Well, my first thought was, why didn’t I think of this? My second thought when I watched the video. I thought, ‘A kid thought of this! That’s amazing!’ And it’s so non-threatening,” Branson said.
Students can download the app for free with Liberty’s private pass code. School districts buy the app at $1 per student, per year. This allows students to report incidents and email screen shots of cyber bullying directly to administrators anonymously.
“It’s critical because students are not going report it if they have to identify themselves. That’s too risky. And that is not going to happen,” Staley said.
The app also allows districts to select serious key words like “suicide,” “kill” or “bomb.” Once administrators pick their settings, The BullyBox detects when those key words are submitted in a report. When that happens, The BullyBox sends out an emergency phone call straight to the principal’s phone.
“I’m afraid that sometimes a report might come through and an administrator might not see their email for another half hour, hour at a time,” Boynton said.
“This is a serious issue and it’s taking lives, and that’s unnecessary,” Staley said.
Tuesday, students were taught how to use BullyBox. It’s an investment Staley says was common sense.
“It makes it simple. It’s easy to use. You can use it on all technology. It’s anonymous. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?” Staley said.
24-Hour News 8 first reported on the app in June when Boynton went to Washington D.C. as one of six to present to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a Saunders Scholars finalist through YEA!
Boynton didn’t win, but that didn’t set him back one bit. Besides Liberty Christian in Madison County, his app has also been purchased by Mount Vernon Schools in Fortville and several more are showing serious interest. Some of those schools are even out of state.
Boynton says he has partnered with Pro-Claim, a non-profit out of Pendleton. The group works with Nick Vujicic of Life Without Limbs, a campaign aimed to encourage people to live without limits no matter the obstacles.
“He’s all anti-bullying, which is incredible. So, I’m very happy to be partnering with him and Pro-Claim and help sponsor the Stand Strong Tour, which is what they’re calling it,” Boynton said.
The BullyBox can be downloaded through the Apple App store and Google Play.
You can find several statistics about high school drop outs, student no-shows and suicide rates due to bullying on the BullyBox website.
Boynton has also set up an Indie GoGo fund to raise money for marketing in hopes of traveling to trade shows and conferences. It’s also to upgrade The BullyBox server in order to ensure there are no service interruptions as the application grows.